This blog died a sad, silent death because in the spring of this year my wife and I decided we had to move. While we thought it might be Boston for a while, we've wound up making the move to New York City. And since we won't be busy enough with the moving and exploring, we thought we'd right a blog together about the adventure. If you'd like to check it out, go to http://theoutoftownersnyc.blogspot.com.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Posted by Dan Reed at Monday, August 04, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I'm back, baby! After 46 days of almost total sobriety (there were a couple of necessary exceptions) I'm ready to get back in the swing of the nightlife. So what to do to get back in the swing of things? Well, it just so happens that I'm planning a week's worth of drinks, to get re-acquainted with the bars of Rhode Island. Here's the plan:
Monday: This one's already done, and it was a great start. I dragged my better half out to the Ivy Tavern for a couple of Sierra Nevadas and a huge plate of garlic fries. Best $20 I've spent in a long time.
Tuesday: With a little luck, The Blackstone will still have live jazz on Tuesday evenings. If not, I'll still be there for some pool.
Wednesday: I feel like I should break up the week with a place I've never been before. For reasons that elude even me, I'm intrigued by the Peddler's Inn off 95 in Pawtucket. So, why not?
Thursday: I'm already feeling I don't have enough days to get to all the places I want to reacquaint myself with, but Lili Marlene's has to be on the list. A gimlet and some funk is an absolute must.
Friday: To be honest, Friday may see me at more than one watering hole, but I'm planning to start the evening with some class by having a glass of Albarino at La Laiterie in Wayland Square. Heck, a shared bottle and their mac and cheese would probably do me for the night.
Saturday: If I can get myself out of town, Saturday is the perfect day for a trip out of Provtucket to go to Jamestown and The Narragansett Cafe. Aside from all its other charms, it even has 'the Gansett Gurney' to get its more inebriated patrons home safely.
Sunday: If it's the end of the week, and I need to convince myself the winter's ending, it will be the Hot Club, end of story.
Posted by Dan Reed at Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
People who somewhat regularly read this blog will know two things: first, that when I say "Rhody Rocks" I really mean "Prov-tucket Rocks", for all intents and purposes. Second, that if I review anything, the review is likely to come out too late for anyone interested to actually see the performance in question. Hey, if you can't alienate and underserve the readership of your blog, why have one?
It is in that spirit that I commend the URI Theatre, or at least its performance of Amadeus by Peter Shaffer which concluded this past weekend. My wife and I (PC grads, and thus programmed to dismiss anything URI related) were invited by a few URI alums to see the Saturday show. Since, as I might have mentioned, I'm off the sauce for Lent, it seemed like as good a way as any to kill the time. So off we went, through the driving rain we had Saturday evening, to catch a show I had no particular interest in seeing, and absently assumed would be more like the overacted, set-poor productions I saw at PC, and that I usually enjoy.
In short, I was wrong. Sure, the generic-looking building didn't inspire confidence, but we walked inside to find a sprawling arts complex, which includes an art gallery currently hosting the intriguing but depressing exhibit on Nazis and Homosexuals that I briefly glanced at. The theater itself was simply but nicely designed with a deep stage and steep stadium seating.
Since the play is over, I won't get into a blow-by-blow account of the show, but I will say that a few things stood out. First, Joseph Kidawski was outstanding as Salieri, including pulling off a voice change from old to young versions of the character that could have been painfully cheesy if not done well. Several other actors did nice work, though the performances of smaller parts were uneven, as you might expect in a college production. A special note of praise has to go to the costume department, though, for doing a truly professional job on complex period dress. Not one character looked shoddily turned out.
While I don't know how their next play, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, will turn out, I'm willing to guess the audience will be pleased. It may just be worth another trek out of Prov-tucket.
Posted by Dan Reed at Monday, March 10, 2008
Saturday, March 8, 2008
I'm tragically late in getting to this excellent article by Ian Donnis in the Phoenix, especially since my wife left the paper for me a month ago. But Donnis does an expert job of profiling the growth of the craft beer scene in Rhode Island, from the best liquor stores to go to for exotic brews, to some bars like Track 84 in Warwick that feature great beers on tap. (But he doesn't say whether the Portuguese-American Social Club in Fox Point is open to the public, which is a major oversight.)
What really got me excited, though, was the sidebar where hehttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif notes that president Mark Hellendrung is hoping to start brewing on Providence's West Side this year, and as part of the move would open a beer garden on the site. I can't even describe how unbelievably cool this is. The story none-too-subtly hints that the decision will be based on first quarter sales of Narragansett, so make sure you go stock up before the end of march and bring our great, cheap, local beer home. I'll see you at the beer garden.
Posted by Dan Reed at Saturday, March 08, 2008
Thursday, March 6, 2008
We are now in the heart of Lent here in the most Catholic state in the country. Between the last gasps of winter cold and the restrictions and rules impressed upon us Catholics, it can seem a dreary, slow time. But those traditions can also be embraced to great benefit, in particular if one takes the Friday prohibition against eating meat to heart and decides to spend the evening dining at Hemenway's Seafood Grill and Oyster Bar.
Located in the heart of downtown Providence on South Main Street, Hemenway's is an energetic, sophisticated place to enjoy your favorite seafood dishes. The big main dining room wraps around an elevated bar (which is a great place to grab a cocktail and an appetizer if you're not in the mood for a full meal) and faces out onto the riverfront park that, in warmer months, packs in the crowds for WaterFire. But in the winter, it's a quiet, peaceful scene that you can take in through the huge floor-to-ceiling windows in the space. High over the tables and booths a series of neon signs of cartoonish fish add a lighthearted tough.
While Hemenway's offers the steak and chicken dishes seen on every seafood restaurant's menu, an informal survey of surrounding tables at several visits have indicated most everyone is there for the fish. There are a number of appetizers that put you in the right frame of mind, from delicious crab and lobster cakes to lobster ravioli, and of course the truly outstanding clam chowder. There is, of course, also the oyster bar, which I have never tried but heard widely praised. They generally offer an assortment of top varieties from up and down the coast for about $2.50 each.
But the entrees are the real attraction, and the best part is the great range of classic seafood dishes. On the one hand, you can order a large number of fresh catch items prepared simply, with traditional sides like a baked potato or fresh vegetables. You can also get New England fried favorites. Then there are some truly outstanding seafood pasta dishes, and my wife swears by the seafood caesar salad with fresh lobster, crab and shrimp.
Hemenway's is not the place to go for the latest fusion cuisine or bizarre fish you've never heard of. You won't find any sushi on the menu, either. But if you love seafood prepared the traditional way about as well as it can be done, then you can't do much better anywhere.
Address: 121 South Main Street, Providence (call 401-351-8570 for reservations)
Cost for Two: With a bottle of wine and a shared appetizer, expect the bill to be around with tip. Entrees are typically around $20-$25, but dishes like lobster can be significantly more.
Bar Savers: Unfortunately, I don't know of any.
Eat Me: The stuffed shrimp is out of this world
Next Stop: It's a short walk down along the river to the Wild Colonial, one of the city's better bars. You're also about a block away from the Cable Car Cinema if you're looking for the complete date night experience.
Posted by Dan Reed at Thursday, March 06, 2008
Friday, February 29, 2008
While February totally bored me, March looks like it's kicking off with a bang. Tomorrow afternoon, there are a couple of fun, different events you can check out.
First, political phenomenon Barack Obama will be speaking at a rally at Rhode Island College tomorrow. The doors will open at noon, and considering the Obama fever spreading everywhere, you're probably best off getting there around then if you want a decent seat. Go to the college's rec center at 600 Mount Pleasant Avenue in Providence.
If politics are not your thing, or if you're a Republican who needs a distraction from the Democratic fervor that will be sweeping the state, you can celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Pawtucket tomorrow. What's that, you say? Saint Patrick's Day isn't for over two weeks? Ahh, but you've forgotten that the normal rules of society are suspended in Pawtucket. The parade begins at noon, behind McCoy Stadium, and ends up downtown by city hall. Afterwards, there will be food and music at the Pawtucket Armory for $2. If you can bear the weather, check it out.
Posted by Dan Reed at Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
This weekend, there are two interesting cultural events that might be well worth checking out. The first is an 18th century Irish music concert, featuring pipes, cello, and harpsichord. (Seems like a high class way to start prepping for St. Patrick's Day.) It's being put on by the Newport Baroque Orchestra at St. John the Evangelist Church on Poplar Street in Newport. It starts at 8:00 on Friday.
According to the press information, Jerry O'Sullivan, one of the musicians, is in fact, "America's premier uilleann piper." (It's basically an Irish bagpipe.) How often can you say you saw that, and for only $25 a ticket.
On Saturday evening, also at 8:00, the RI Philharmonic will be hosting a night of music by American composers, featuring pianist Terrence Wilson playing some of Gershwin's most beloved works, including Rhapsody in Blue. Tickets for the philharmonic tend to be pricey, but they're well worth it both for the quality of the performances and the intimacy of the venue.
If the classical stuff doesn't fit the bill, I'd direct you to lotsofnoise, where you will find information on cool shows at Firehouse 13, AS220, and a film screening at Pawtucket recording studio Machines with Magnets.
Posted by Dan Reed at Thursday, February 21, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
For the first time since starting this blog, I've been derailed. Have I been felled by some horrific illness? Am I suffering from writer's block? No. What I've done is commit the cardinal sin of nightlife and event blogging: I've given up drinking for Lent.
Amazingly, I didn't realize the negative effect this would have on my posting. I actually thought, going in to this 46 days of horror (that's right, count the calendar, there are 46 days in Lent), that this period of clean living would actually increase my output. Surely, the lack of boozy evenings would clear my mind and leave me with the time and motivation to create. Sadly, however, what it has done is to make it very hard to find activities and locations that seem worth doing.
Some friends have said, rather bluntly, that if I don't have any interests in my normal activities when I'm not drinking, it means I'm an alcoholic. Well, I plead guilty, but not in the normal sense. Physically and emotionally, I have no need for booze, but I'm a social alcoholic. I like to go into situations where people are drinking, have a good time, and throw a few back myself. When I go to a bar to see some live music, the beer I drink is integral to the experience. Last weekend, I went to the Wild Colonial to play some pool and was bored out of my mind.
So I ask you to forgive me if my posts are a bit less numerous or less inspired. But, in the interests of serving the public and anyone else crazy enough to make a lenten sacrifice similar to my own, I endeavored to pull together a few nightlife options that don't necessarily involve drinking.
1) You haven't lived until you have partaken of extreme rock and bowl at the Bowling Academy in East Providence
2) If you are trying to avoid the typical movie experience, your best bet is the Cable Car Cinema in Providence
3) The second Friday of every month, the RISD Museum is open for music, art, hors d’oeuvres (and also drinks, but I don't think anyone's chugging.) It's only $8 to get in.
4) I haven't done this yet, but the Ladd Observatory, on the East Side of Providence, is open to the public every Tuesday from 7:00 to 9:00. Maybe there's a comet out there with my name (to be put) on it.
That's all I've got, sadly. (I decided to leave theater and concerts off, because those take more commitment and planning than I have in me right now.) I think the non-drinking members of our community would appreciate if anyone with other ideas could post them in the comments.
Posted by Dan Reed at Monday, February 18, 2008
Saturday, February 9, 2008
You always remember fondly your first date with the woman who eventually becomes your wife. Of course, it puts a bit of a cramp in it if she thinks the date was in a different restaurant than the one you remember. However, I've always had a better memory than her, so I'm pretty confident that our first date was, in fact, at Julian's, one of the more unconventional dining spots in Providence.
Located on Broadway at the border of Federal Hill and the funky West End, Julian's offers a great experience no matter when you feel like going. (Never has the title of this column been more appropriate.) Say, for example, you feel like breakfast. I guarantee you that Julian's brunch menu will offer something amazingly good that you never saw on a breakfast plate before. Last time, I had a blue cheese and broccoli hash that was a borderline sexual experience, and my wife looked somewhat hot and bothered as she chowed down on her vegan gingerbread pancakes. The mix of asian-inspired dishes, vegetarian delights (yes, I said it) and traditional favorites with a twist (or just flawless execution) is astounding.
Dinner is, arguably, even better (though the lines are usually longer for brunch, at least on Sunday). I'm a big fan of starting off with the grilled naan bread, but there are a ton of great starters to choose from. In fact, between the 'munch' items on the menu and the larger appetizers, it is a great time to go with a group of friends for some drinks and a bunch of dishes to share. But if you do follow in my footsteps and go on a date, you'll probably want a main course, and you can't go wrong with (just to name a few) the pumpkin gnocchi or the poached bass. To be honest, though, I usually check out their specials, and find something well worth trying.
If the food sounds offbeat and lively, the ambiance matches. The walls and ceiling are covered with odd artifacts, and you'll see something new that will serve as a conversation piece every time you go. The open kitchen offers its own form of entertainment. Yet it is still a very relaxing place, where you can truly feel at ease. I've watched several times some older and conservatively dressed folks sitting right next to a well-pierced group of hipsters, and neither looking the least bit uncomfortable. Maybe the polite, funny staff helps with that.
Julian's is hardly a Providence secret, but if you haven't been yet, you owe it to yourself to find out why they have so serial patrons, including me.
Address: 318 Broadway, Providence
Cost for Two: Brunch will probably set you back $20 to $30 without any booze, and dinner is usually $50 to $60 with a couple of drinks, but it can go as high as $90 or so if you're getting the more expensive entrees.
Bar Savers: Check the board for beer specials. They often have unusual stuff for $2 or $3 per draft.
Eat Me: Everything they do with naan is worth trying
Next Stop: Mo Joe's Bar, at 166 Broadway, is a decent place to keep the party going, and get in a game of pool
Posted by Dan Reed at Saturday, February 09, 2008
Saturday, February 2, 2008
I'm back from a vacation to Paris (which is why I haven't been blogging for a while) and wanted to highlight two events that are going on right now which might be worth checking out.
First, if you're looking for something to do tonight, Tazza (250 Westminster St. in Providence) is hosting house music tonight, as it apparently does the first Saturday of every month. Tonight's lineup includes DJ Nick De Paris, Mousky, Aaron Minjares, and VJ Pomp & Clout, along with special guest Nate D. Percussion. Should be a cool evening.
The second think is a longer running event: an exhibition called the Tape Art Artaquarium at 5 Traverse Gallery (5 Traverse Street in Providence) The exhibit, which runs through February 15th, shows you how to use a special low-adhesive tape to create large murals. By the looks of the site, there are some pretty cool displays, and seems like a fun thing to watch.
There will be more regular posting in the next weeks, so please check back.
Posted by Dan Reed at Saturday, February 02, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Let me preface this article by noting how little I know about sushi. I was definitely a latecomer to the raw fish trend, having tried it for the first time less than three years ago. But since then, I've fairly regularly found myself trekking out for it with my wife, or bringing some back home to pair up with wine and a movie. While there are a number of respected sushi joints in Providence, I've found three that each meet a different need in my life, and these are the ones I'd recommend if you find yourself in a similar state.
A caveat: I usually eat maki (rolls), with a bit of the less adventurous nigiri or sashimi (a slice of fish, which in the case of nigiri comes on a ball of rice). So sushi purists who want to know the best place for the more exotic stuff should probably ignore everything I say.
The Atmospheric Choice: Sakura
There will always be a special place in my heart for Sakura because it counts as a romantic dinner out to my wife, yet costs a lot less than most other restaurants that get that designation, in large part because it is BYOB. You also can't escape the fact you're in a sushi restaurant, especially if you sit in the back room where you take your shoes off and sit at low tables. (If you've been sweating in your sneakers all day, there are regular tables in the front room.) The waitstaff is also dressed in traditional garb, adding to the feel that you've left Providence behind (at least, if you're not seated next to a bunch of college students passing a bunch of booze around, Sakura's only downfall.)
The assortment of sushi is pretty standard, and there are some combo plates for big groups. They also have tempura and a bunch of 'regular' food like beef, chicken and fried shrimp, but that seems mostly for sushi sissies. So, if you'd like to lose yourself for a few hours, grab a good bottle of wine and head to 231 Wickenden Street.
The Relaxed Choice: Ran Zan
View Larger MapI learned just now, from its web site, that Ran Zan is the name of a rural village in Japan. The name fits nicely with the simple atmosphere of this neighborhood restaurant at the junction of Hope Street and Blackstone Boulevard.
Ran Zan, unlike Sakura, does offer alcohol, and has a nice selection of both sake and Japanese beers to go with their sushi. (I'm a big fan of Kirin Ichiban and Sapporo.) The food itself is very reasonably priced, and offers some twists on the traditional offerings. One of my favorites is a Philly Roll, which combines smoked salmon with cucumber and cream cheese to create a truly unique taste. Of course, they have all the classics, too. I am also quite partial to their fried shrimp and vegetable tempura appetizer, which is a great way to start a meal.
It is a relaxed place to have lunch or dinner, but also a good place to order takeout.
The Hearty Choice: Sushi Express
Like many people, I imagine, I was introduced to sushi as a sit-down meal, and only later began to think of it as a food to take home with me. At some point along the way, someone told me that in Japan, there are a lot of hole-in-the-wall places where you can get sushi quickly for lunch or a snack, without a lot of fuss or hassle. Sushi Express, as the name indicates, operates on that spirit. This small, narrow restaurant has a few stools if you'd like to eat in, but is primarily a takeout place. (If you've ever been into the original Spike's, just down a bit on Thayer Street from Sushi Express, you have a sense for how the space feels, though Sushi Express is, amazingly, even smaller.
One thing that impressed me right away was that the sushi rolls seem larger than the other restaurants in town. Normally, I'd be hungry after two orders of rolls (with is usually 12 of them) but that much completely fills me up at Sushi Express. And, depending on what you order, the cost will be a little over or under $10. Their selection is interesting, as in addition to the standard fare they have a few unique rolls with names taken from spots here in the Ocean State. I first went there while shopping on Thayer Street (they're at 281 Thayer), and it now coexists along with Spike's and East Side Pockets as a great place for a quick, tasty bite.
Posted by Dan Reed at Saturday, January 19, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
For the second straight time, I'm writing a Bar Tabs entry about a spot that's at least as much restaurant as bar. And if you want to go to Local 121, at 121 Washington Street (and isn't that convenient?) in downtown Providence, for dinner, you'll be in good company. I've heard the food is good, and they seem to be getting a good crowd. But even if you're in for the meal, you might want to consider asking to be seated in the bar, because in my humble opinion, it is clearly the draw of the place.
The first thing you'll notice when you hang a right into the Tap Room, as they call it, is how amazing all the details are. The bar is filled with panelling that is out of this world in its ornateness, and the space is filled with stained glass windows that are (so I'm told) made out of bottle bottoms. The room is long and narrow, giving it a hole-in-the-wall feel that is accentuated by the minimal lighting, just enough to bring out the character in the space.
One thing I really like about the place is that they have a nice variety of beers on tap, from the local and cheap (aka Narragansett) to the exotic and tasty. I've tried a few beers there I'd never heard of before, which is getting rather hard to pull off, and I've been pleasantly surprised both times. And the prices are entirely in line with what you pay at the neighborhood bar: they haven't tried to institute a cool tax by charging $8 for a Stella Artois or something.
And this is a good thing, because Local 121 is undeniably a cool place. They routinely have DJs playing some cool/random/trippy music, and make sure the vibe is clean and modern without being snobby or off-putting. It is a place I go when I need my watering hole to make me feel a bit more hip, not just to help distract me from the lowlights of my day. Add to that the fact that I've had some of the best bar conversations ever there, and it all starts to add up to a pretty robust drinking experience.
If the fliers I saw the other day are true, there is a regular DJ gig at Local 121 on Monday, and I'm planning on checking it out. I'll let them surprise me with a new beer, order something tasty from the small plate menu (they serve their full dinner menu in the bar until midnight, another big plus) and try to get into an interesting conversation. There are much worse ways to start your week.
Posted by Dan Reed at Sunday, January 13, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Time to give up the revelry of the holidays and settle in to a long, cruel winter. Right? Of course we have more cold and misery on the way, but the weather this week, anyway, has been gorgeous, so let's enjoy a bit of revelry while we can.
Thursday: Get yourself in rhythm at Club Energy in downtown Providence, where Certified Bananas and Javelin will dish out beats at their regular Pop event. However, this is a little bit special, because this quality club night is going the way of the two martini lunch at the end of the month. So shell out the three bucks, get there at 10:00 or so, and dance the pain away.
Friday: I've spent my fair share of words pitching the Rhode Island Philharmonic in this space, despite a sneaking feeling that not many blog readers are also classical music fans. But if you are at all, you have the chance to catch some Brahms this weekend, which is always worth doing. You could go Saturday to the concert, but it might be more interesting to check out the open rehearsal from 5:30 to 8:00 on Friday. Tickets are $27 (and only $12 for students) and you'll both hear some great music and gain an understanding of what goes into putting together a classical concert.
Saturday: If you miss the fresh tastes of warmer weather, you could do worse than to check out AS220's winter farmer's market. It's from 12 to 3.
Can I admit that I'm a bad person and I've never been to the Stone Soup Coffee House, despite my recent man-crush on all things Pawtucket? I plan to remedy that this Saturday, and check out a folk concert they'll be having there. Tickets are $15, it starts at 8:00, and if you're a first timer like me, it's at St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Park Place.
Sunday: If the warm weather holds, what better way to celebrate it than by taking in some raggae. After a couple of drinks, you may convince yourself you took that island vacation after all. So go to the Rhino Bar and Grille at 337 Thames St. in Newport and check out Hot Like Fire, from 10 pm-1 am. (I think it's a free show.)
Posted by Dan Reed at Thursday, January 10, 2008
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Is there a more hackneyed post I could possibly make than to post my 'resolutions' as a cheap convention to preview the coming 12 months? Of course not, and that's why I love it. Although, this might be a little different, in that these aren't my resolutions, they're yours. If you've seen the state of our political system, you know choice is not a luxury Rhode Island has earned, so I'm telling you right here and now what's good for you. Fortunately, these should be about the most enjoyable resolutions you could possibly keep.
Resolution 1: See more live music
A few years ago, you had a perfectly legitimate reason for not going to see local live shows: there was no way to know if the band sucked (and around here, if you weren't into Noise and other heavy metal variants, you had know way to know if you were going to be deafened.) Now, though, every band that's been together ten minutes has a MySpace page or a site with some tracks posted, so you can try before you buy, even if buying means heading out to the local bar. Check out The Phoenix or lotsofnoise for the best listings.
Resolution 2: Buy some art
You've heard that Rhode Island is becoming a magnet for artists, but you haven't taken the plunge and walked into a gallery. Just do it, you'll feel good, pump some money back into the local scene, and get an artifact you will always remember and cherish. If you want to make a night of it, there's always Gallery Night, or you could go a bit further to the edge and check out the Pawtucket scene.
Resolution 3: Join something
Did you know you can try to be a skater with the Providence Roller Derby? (Well, as long as you have two X chromosomes, anyway.) Not every activity in the Ocean State might be that cool, but you could certainly find a sports league (Basketball in Charlestown? A volleyball league? Flag football?) or maybe volunteer for something. There's a lot out there.
Resolution 4: Get out of the city
I know Rhody Rocks, based on its current posts, could be renamed 'The Providence/Pawtucket Booster Blog'. First, though, that's a sucky name, and second, we guarantee there will be many posts coming in the coming year that will feature state-wide attractions. We'll tell you about fishing and dining in Chepachet, shopping in Bristol, theatergoing in Warren, tourist-dodging in Newport, and how to go to a beach in Narragansett without a steroid-fueled guido ruining your day. In the meantime, it can't hurt too much to go exploring on your own, at least as long as you avoid Coventry.
Resolution 5: Post some comments
Can I be honest with you? I have a dream for this blog, a dream that a community of like-minded folks will share their favorite night spots and activities, so the world and the bored masses will know all the great things about this state. So please, if you do something worth talking about, either post it up here or send me an email at reedmore1 (at) cox.net, and let us all know. Don't let my dream die in 2008.
Posted by Dan Reed at Saturday, January 05, 2008
Sunday, December 30, 2007
A few weeks ago, I promised a posting with recommendations for what to do on New Year's Eve. And I've thought about it a great deal. And I realized that I always have a good night on New Year's Eve, and rarely is it planned. So, if you're into planning your night, I'd recommend going to Bright Night or the First Night celebrations in Newport or Westerly. Or, if you've got $55 to spare on a ticket, you could check out Tracy Morgan at the Comedy Connection. These are the events you've heard all about, and I'm sure they'll be good.
But I think you're best off going to a place that means something to you, preferably in the company of someone that means something to you. Last year, for example, my wife and I went to Oak on Hope Street, had a nice dinner, then went to watch the fireworks at midnight at Prospect Terrace Park on Congdon Street.
Another year we went to our favorite bar at the time, Maverick's in Wayland Square, and had a late dinner and played with noisemakers as the ball dropped.
A few years ago, we volunteered to mind the door at a modern dance event (part of Bright Night), before wandering around downtown.
Once, we got drunk on Margaritas at Tortilla Flats...and those of you who know us know the rest of that particular story.
Anyway, don't use New Year's as a night to try to do something impressive or over-the-top. Find a place and a person you care about, and enjoy the many possibilities the year has in store. And, while you're thinking of what that will be, let me be the first to wish you the very best in 2008.
Posted by Dan Reed at Sunday, December 30, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
I'm dangerously close to developing a man-crush on Paul Mecurio. I went to his final stand-up show at the Comedy Connection last night, and it was outstanding. I'm not dumb enough to try to capture a bunch of improvised jokes in writing, but I will say that you simply can't get more mileage from talking to a woman whose baby was born with two teeth than Mecurio did last night.
It's over now, and you all missed it, but make sure to keep an eye out for the next time he's back in town.
For any readers who check in over the next few days, we'll soon have a post up with New Years' recommendations. If you're bored in the meantime, check out this post by Ian Donnis on movies that force you to watch through to the end if you find them on TV. All of them are guaranteed to get you through a slow winter evening at home.
And, of course, a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and festive other holiday that you may be celebrating between now and the start of 2008.
Posted by Dan Reed at Monday, December 24, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
We are pleased, for the first time ever, to break from our traditional format of mindless rambles about cool bars, restaurants and other happenings in the Ocean State, and to bring you an interview with bona-fide Rhode Island celebrity. Amazingly, in our very first time out, we managed to get our subject to confess deep, embarrassing truths, and otherwise be very entertaining. If his show is half as funny as the responses he emailed me below, I might have to wear diapers to the Comedy Connection. So, without further ado, I give you Paul Mecurio.
Q: I heard you grew up in Providence. Is coming back more happy or traumatic?
A: Both. Happy because I can drive like a maniac and give people the finger when they cut me off, so I fit right in. Traumatic because the giant bug from New England Pest Control gives me nightmares for months after I come home!!!
Q: What is your fondest memory of the Buddy Cianci years?
A: It's a toss up between the corruption and his bad toupee. I always thought they should put him away for how cheesy that toupee looked. It was like a hamster died on his head. I met Buddy once at Andrea's restaurant on the East Side and was shocked to find out he is only 3 feet tall. His police escort would carry him around in a Sherpa bag!
You know, I particularly miss how when I went to pay my "property taxes" in Providence it had to be in cash, in small bills placed in a white envelope behind a dumpster next to city hall.
Q: What is the difference between writing for someone else and writing your own material? Which do you find more satisfying?
A: Writing for someone else involves knowing their voice and what they feel comfortable doing and writing for THAT voice, which often is different than your own voice. In writing my own material I am driven by the point of view I want to get home. Writing for myself is ultimately more satisfying, particularly in the case of Jon Stewart because he can't read so everything has to be spelled phonetically?
Q: Are you part of the writer's strike? And if so, is attending your show a way to stick it to the man?
A: I am supporting the writer's strike and YES, if you come to my show we are telling the man to shove it! In fact, during my show I hold a rally where we bring out the lifeless body of union leader, Jimmy Hoffa--yes I found him, he was behind the Lincoln Mall--and then we drink beer from his skull while chanting "brotherhood forever!"
Q: Why should someone come out and see your show instead of finishing their shopping or spending the season with love ones? And does holding a show this close to Christmas make you a bad person?
A: First, people should be shopping online: who shops in stores anymore? That is so 1999. Second, by shopping you are feeding the corporate beast but by coming to my show you are allowing me to make enough money so my son can get that kidney he so desperately needs, but don't feel OBLIGATED to come! Besides, who wants to spend time with loved ones? Studies have shown that most deaths are caused by interacting with your family...no good ever comes from that.
Regardless, coming to my show DOES make you a bad person, but so what!?! It's bad, but not "Buddy Cianci bad."
Q: In the interest of boosting traffic to RhodyRocks.com, do you have any scandalous comments or confessions you'd like to make? (Honesty isn't really required.)
A: Yes. First, I am actually a woman. Secondly, in 1990, I once put 375 crushed roofies in a Dells Lemonade stand at Scarborough beach and as a result pregnancy rose 800% that year.
Happy Holidays everyone! See you at The Comedy Connection! - Paul
Posted by Dan Reed at Thursday, December 20, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
If you've done any driving in the past week, you could use a laugh (and probably some type of opiate derivative.) Since posting information on the latter is probably illegal, I will refer you instead to the impending visit Paul Mecurio will be making to our fine state, for a group of shows at the Comedy Connection in East Providence. Shows are from the 21st to the 23rd, and tickets range from $10 to $17.
And for those of you who don't like to pay, Mecurio will be giving away free tickets to his show for the next few days. In fact, the winner becomes an official(ish) sponsor of Paul's Carpooling with Strangers Tour, and gets 4 free tickets and a chance to go backstage after the show.
I haven't seen Mecurio perform live yet, but I've caught bits of his act, and let me just say that he has a joke about the tryptophan in turkey that almost had me spitting up my drink. What's more, he's a writer for the Daily Show, so if the writer's strike has you missing your fix, here's the best way to get it.
Check back in the next few days to see if we can get Mecurio to answer a few questions for us.
Posted by Dan Reed at Monday, December 17, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
If you haven't already finished Christmas shopping (and I bet you haven't) there's no better place to go for a unique, tasteful gift for that hard-to-please relative than the Foundry Show in Pawtucket. You'll find a great selection of arts and crafts, most by Rhode Island artists. But the last day is tomorrow, so make sure you brave the weather and check it out. It's at the Pawtucket armory.
By the way, posting will likely be a bit lighter than normal for the next few weeks as I prepare for the holidays. But we'll have a few good posts to check out (including, hopefully, our first interview) and a New Year's preview.
Posted by Dan Reed at Saturday, December 15, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
While most of you are probably like me in that you do most of your merry-making between Thursday and Sunday, you might find yourself itching to get out early in the week now and again. If so, I have two suggestions on recurring activities that might make it worth your while to leave your couch before the weekend hits.
On Mondays, think about heading down to Trinity Brewhouse in downtown Providence for cheap wings, football (at least for the next few weeks) and some of the best beer in the state. And if wings aren't enough for you, I'll add that I had these guys cater my wedding, so either the food is pretty awesome or I'm a sad individual (or both, I suppose.) I'd highly recommend sitting at the bar; it's a good crowd.
On Tuesdays, you can't go wrong by heading to the Blackstone for live jazz. Mike Tanaka and friends put on a free show every Tuesday starting at 8:00, there's a limited food selection, and you still get all the many joys that come with the Blackstone. (If you don't feel like clicking over to my write-up of the place, it is at 1005 Main Street in Pawtucket.)
I have to be honest, I don't have a good regular Wednesday event. (If there continue to be Wednesday DJ sessions at Local 121 downtown, that may be it.) So, readers, if you have any thoughts, please email me or post them in the comments.
Posted by Dan Reed at Sunday, December 09, 2007